So who will it be? Someone old, someone new, someone borrowed or…

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My guess is he will put one of the youngsters in the middle to line up alongside Denilson, his choice will be Merida, Ramsey or Diaby, and my hunch is Diaby.

I’m not against it because I’ve always said Diaby is a class act in the middle and Wenger never plays him there so we’ll see.

Ramsey makes the bench and Merida doesn’t so my feeling is he won’t step up, but expect two new faces at the Grove in January, Nacer Barazite to come back from Derby and Traore to come back from Portsmouth and fill that troublesome left side of midfield.

And that is probably that my friends, no new signings, but at least Wenger will still get his no ‘spending the money’ bonus, so at least he’ll have a good Christmas, don’t forget that isn’t a fact, it’s just my opinion.

For the Villa game though I would give them a surprise, go at them from the start with pace but strangle the midfield.

This would be my line up.

Almunia (because we have no choice)

Sagna Djourou Gallas Gibbs

Nasri Ramsey (but we know it will be Song) Denilson Clichy (pace)

Diaby

RVP

I think that may unhinge them, they won’t be expecting it and we may just get a result, they rely on pace and if we put Clichy on the wing it may well confuse their wide men.

Tony Adams has said he is more Graham than Wenger and wants to manage the Arsenal one day, well done Tony, I wouldn’t want another Wenger (Post 2005) in my lifetime that’s for sure.

All the rage in Milan ya?

People will like you more in this t-shirt.

Today we have a competition and the prize is a ‘T’ shirt with the worlds favourite blog emblazoned on it and a hat, courtesy of our mate Avenell. So thanks for that Avenell, it was very thoughtful of you, have a great Christmas because someone that wins your prize certainly will.

All you have to do is answer two questions, I didn’t google these so nor should you.

Who succeeded George Graham as manager?

When that manager left Arsenal which club did he manage next?

Answers on an e-mail (comp@le-grove.co.uk)! The lines close at 1300, the winner will be announced tomorrow!

Have a great Christmas Eve Grovers, tomorrow is the big one!


Real sign Dolphin head and move the transfer window to December

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The Peroni massacre of 2008...

The Peroni massacre of 2008...

Let’s start with Arsenal old boy Lassana Diarra, yesterday he signed for Real Madrid you all saw the pictures of him in their kit kicking a ball, but did anyone notice it’s still only December 22nd and not January, when of course the window is supposed to be open. …Oh sorry, I forgot, they are Real Madrid, like Chelsea and ManU they have different rules.

So Diarra left us for Portsmouth because he was behind Flamini and he wasn’t having that, now he’s behind 6 Real players, strange fish headed twit. Still we got £5mil as part of the deal, well done Arsene, I would sooner have had either the player or the £20mil that Pompey got but that’s Arsenal for you.

Sadly it looks like Cesc could be out for 3 months, so it’s now we should be buying, not in two weeks time, now, the same names are coming up Inler, Arshavin and Finnan… Finnan?! Yeah I know, that has to be a joke right? I thought that about Silvestre though.

Arshavin interests me, but he’s no Cesc replacement, more of a Rosicky type of player, but at £20mil I would sooner sign Alonso, Barry or Cana and have change. By my simple maths we should have at least £14.5mil from the sell on of Muamba, Bentley and Diarra plus a further £2mil from the sale of Hoyte and that wasn’t even from our transfer budget, it’s bunce, so we can at least buy Alonso.

So add the £25mil from the transfer kitty and we can get some real quality in, I would consider Green, Chelleini, Alonso and Arshavin if not them then Green, Upson, Cana and Villa. Whatever happens we need to spend some money, this is becoming a joke, if he thought we needed no-one before the Rosicky injury then surely with Cesc out he must see we really need some help and that only gets us back to where we were last week, pre the Cesc problem.

Other news is Bendtner for Ribery, that would be an awesome deal, so I can’t see that happening, but whoever we get, we need at least one EPL ready player, we can’t afford to wait 6 months for them to bed in, so maybe a mixture of the above.

The thought of a midfield of Diaby, Song, Denilson and Eboue makes me want to start watching the cricket. How on earth he thinks we can finish in the top four with those jokers fronting the team is totally beyond me, even the worlds maddest AKB must see that as a frightening prospect.

There comes a point in football where you begin to miss-manage a club, like Enron did, like the banks did and like Arsenal are now doing, and by management I don’t mean Wenger, I mean the board, they have now to wake up and smell the roses before we become like Tottenham, it’s not too late and we are now in the new December transfer window, so boys GET THE COMPANY CHEQUE BOOK OUT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

My final point today is this, Mr Wenger says he won’t buy ‘ready made’ as he doesn’t want to kill the kids, so here’s a solution boss, why don’t you play them? I’m sure Vela, Ramsey and Wilshere are as puzzled as we all are as to how Song, Diaby and Eboue are picked ahead of them and if he’s not careful, Jackie boy might go and sign for Chelsea.

Let’s also hope that when Cesc begins his recuperation that they lock him up in a monastery to stop Barca working their evil spells on him.

Buy now Arsene, whilst we still have something to fight for.


Troubling times ahead as key players fall away. Player Ratings + Review

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Before I begin, can I just say it was a pleasure to share a Peroni or two with so many people from the site yesterday (Gunner8, Raif, Steve, Odub, Bud, Geoff, Breton Gunner…)! My hangover is a testament to the enjoyment clearly had! I’d stick some pics up, but technical difficulties have prevented me doing so!

It’s a shame things weren’t so enjoyable in the stadium yesterday. Many people had their match day experience ruined yesterday by overly officious prat’s in orange macs. I was harassed by stewards all game for standing up… can I just apologise right now for ruining the match day experience of the pane of glass behind me… oh and the blinds.

Arsenal should wind back the CCTV of the game and check how many Liverpool fans were sitting down during the game. So Arsene, next time you complain about fan contribuition, take a look at what noise police are doing. They are the number one factor in decimating the match day atmosphere… funny how they backed off after your appeal for more noise at the spud game… arresting people for swearing at Howard Web… what a fucking liberty.

The first half was reasonably impressive from Arsenal. The teamed lined up pretty much the only way it could, a midfield of Nasri, Song, Cesc and Denilson. They all grafted in the first half and the opening didn’t take long. Nasri pinged a ball to RvP who controlled the ball with the grace of Thierry, shifted outside and rifled the ball home. A fantastic goal and another glimpse of the precocious talent he possesses.

Liverpool did manage to equalise in horrific fashion… Robbie Keane latched onto a Liverpool volleyed clearance… the ball bounced on the 18 yard box… Keane expertly buried the ball in the top corner. Lets not moan about the flukey finish, that is what he is paid £80k a week to do… lets instead focus on how professional defenders allow themselves to continuously fooled by high balls… lets ask why Almunia wasn’t on the edge of the box ready to claim the ball and take Keane with him… it really was poor on every level. I would be disappointed if my Sunday league team conceded a goal that soft.

Liverpool went close again a couple of times and then the moment we had all feared for sometime… Cesc went in hard on a 50:50 challenge with Alonso, and came out injured. Apparently it could be knee ligament damage, which is a real worry when you consider quite how bad Arsene’s plan B was… Here goes…

  1. Fab off
  2. Nasri moves to the right
  3. Diaby comes on and goes left
  4. Denilson sits in the middle

Yes, the whole midfield was shuffled around bar Song. Can I just ask what Diaby has to do to get a game in the middle of the park? May I also ask why we put players on the bench with a set position… then when it comes to the crunch, we are too afraid to use them? It’s pretty pointless being there if you have not intention of playing them, right? We’ve all seen what Rambo and co can do given the opportunity… why not give them a chance?

The second half opened and Arsenal’s tempo had diminished. Liverpool played some great football and we spent the opening ten minutes chasing shadows. Then Adebayor went into a challenge to shield the ball, he won it posession fairly… but Howard had other ideas… he blew up, gave a freekick to Liverpool and sent of Adebayor. What a joke…

The window pane and I were fuming. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but do you think Arsenal football club did bad things to Howard at boarding school? I mean… he really does hate us doesn’t he? Who sends a player off for two pretty innocuous challenges like yesterdays? Adebayor is hardly renowned for dirty challenges is he? That sending off ruined the game for me… and serious questions need to be asked of Web.

If one good thing came of the sending off it was the galvanising affect it had on the crowd. They booed for all the right reasons and for a good twenty minutes… the siege mentality crept onto the pitch and the players upped their work rate. It didn’t really matter though… we didn’t have the right tools on the pitch to make an impact on the game. Liverpool went close a few more times and Almunia made a few crucial saves… and just to cap off a great afternoon… in the 91st minute, Arsene brought on Eboue.

A game changing decision if ever I did see one. Eboue was greeted by a chorus of over the top cheers… I don’t know what is worse, booing or just taking the piss?

The game went out with a whimper and Arsenal were probably pleased to have achieved a point.


Almunia: Made some top saves in the second half and pretty much kept us in it. I thought he could have done better for the first goal. He should have been on the edge of the box ready to claim that or at least head it away. He wimped out, stood rooted to his line… and you know the rest. 6

Clichy: This man is not enjoying his football this year. Playing with people you don’t trust can cause your game to fall away… and that is what is happening. He has gone from being one of the most consistent players in the country, to a being a touch erratic. Don’t get me wrong, he made some great interceptions and tackles… but you feel he is always on the edge of making a mistake. 6.5

JD: He’ll have nightmares over that long ball last night… Keane’s pace was too much for the Big Swiss defender last night and that doesn’t bode well for the Villa game. Other than the error, I thought he played ok. 6.5

Gallas: I thought he played pretty well again. I kind of get the impression he is just chugging along until he gets his move in January. It is quite hard to judge a player when you know he has been humiliated by the club and his heard might not be in it. 7

Sagna: I thought we had a pretty solid game out of the powerful Frenchman. If he was a car, he’d be a VW Golf… reliable, strong and not too fancy. 7

Nasri: He punched a peachy ball into RvP for the goal, but other than that he didn’t really do too much. His lack of pace is clear for all to see, and his ability to hold onto the ball is no where near that of Alex Hleb. He seems to have whatever Reyes had… I don’t think he enjoys being roughed up and I think he is having a difficult time adjusting to the rigours of the game. 6

Song: He had a great game after Adebayor was sent off… he upped his work rate and really pulled his weight for once. Prior to that, he didn’t do anything wrong… which is about all I can say about him? Whatever your opinion on him… the one thing you can’t say about him is he will be a revelation in his position. For me… that is what we need next to Cesc… high energy, aggression, pace and keen to run for the full ninety minutes. 6.5

Cesc: I thought he was having a tidy game until he was crunched. How ironic that for £2million, we may have prevented that injury in the summer! What Arsene does now is a mystery… surely he wont persevere with Diaby, Song, Denilson and Nasri…! Wenger’s dream line up… most Gooners nightmare! 7

RvP: Superb finish with his right foot and a pretty good performance over all. He lead the line well on his own after Ade was sent off and his finish in the first half was superb. Hopefully he can find some consistency in the second half of the season and really show us his worth to the team. 8

Adebayor: I was really impressed with the Togan in the first half. I thought his touch was great and his work rate was much improved. Others in the ground disagreed with me. No way did he deserve to be sent off… now we have to suffer losing him for the Villa game. 7

Subs:

Diaby: I can’t remember him doing anything of worth? Mind you… playing him out wide is like putting Almunia up front and expecting goals. How will he ever impress enough out wide, to get a chance in the middle? 4

Eboue: Woooooo hooooooo! 10

I’m pleased with the team performance. The players on show pulled of the best result possible. However, Liverpool are not title contenders… everyone in the ground knew they were there for the taking… and we cocked it up with some poor defending. This current squad are not good enough to sustain a challenge, now, minus Ade and Cesc… we look like we could be in real trouble against Villa.

Troubling times ahead.